General Conference 2016

Deaconesses and Home Missioners Consecrated at General Conference

Twenty-six men and women are consecrated deaconesses and home missioners from the floor of the United Methodist General Conference 2016.

Deaconesses and Home Missioners Consecrated at General Conference

Twenty-six deaconesses and home missioners were consecrated Monday May 16, 2016, on the plenary floor of the United Methodist General Conference. The newly consecrated deaconesses and home missioners come from across the United States as well as the Philippines. The service was a culmination of answering and discerning a call to full-time vocation in lay ministry.

"The deaconess process has been life-changing and life-fulfilling," said newly consecrated deaconess Robin Ridenour. "The most important part about consecration is that I am becoming part of a family of men and women doing the work of love, justice and service."

Deaconesses and home missioners are laywomen and laymen called to be in a lifetime relationship with The United Methodist Church in full-time vocation in cutting-edge, servant ministry. Nearly 200 women and men currently serve as deaconesses and home missioners in the United States, and 450 serve in the Philippines. Around 50 individuals are presently in a discernment process, engaged in a time of listening to God's call and fulfilling candidacy requirements, including theology classes.

"I've been in candidacy for about five years but in formation for this, as it turns out, my entire life. I can't wait to see what God has in store for me next!" said Martha Lundgren, consecrated deaconess.

The lay diaconate is a long-standing tradition in Methodism in the United States. In 1888 the Methodist Episcopal Church established the Office of Deaconess. Women could not become ordained ministers in The United Methodist Church until 1968, so becoming deaconess was one way women could answer their call to mission and ministry when other roads were blocked. Although deaconesses were always connected through the church, they maintained independent and autonomous work on behalf of people on the margins of society. Today, the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner is one of the few avenues available for laity called to ministry.

As you go, call all

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Louisiana Conference, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, United Methodist Church in Germany, and Bishop Pedro Torio Jr., Baguio Episcopal Area in the Philippines, performed the consecration and were joined by United Methodist Women General Secretary Harriet Olson, United Methodist Women President Yvette Richards, Harris College President Cristina Mañabat, Regional Missionary and Deaconess Emma Cantor, Deaconess Clara Ester and Home Missioner Gary Locklear.

"These servants before us today have already accepted Christ's invitation into grace, and this relationship compels them out into the community to proclaim the gospel of grace and salvation in word and deed," said Ester during the ceremony. "They hold true to their motto of serving neither for gratitude nor reward but from gratitude and love; their reward is that they may serve."

The Scripture focus for the worship service was Matthew 22:1-14, the Parable of the Wedding Banquet.

Harvey's message, "Appropriate Attire Required," spoke of the "one size fits all" garment of grace we all must to wear before we can attend the God's banquet, referring to the parable told in the Scripture.

"This parable, like all of Jesus' parables, is another one of those stories of reversal, when the world's values are turned upside down," Harvey said. "When entering into the story, we are challenged to come as we are but not stay that way.

"We have each been personally invited to this banquet. We have been invited and expected to do something that even the world might not be expecting. Will we honor the host by taking the grace-lined garment off that rack and put it on?"

In three stations the bishops, United Methodist Women and deaconess representatives consecrated the women and men to a lifetime of Christ-like service under the authority of the Church. The new deaconesses and home missioners received their scarf-and their mandate.

"The robe is ready for you," said Harvey. "There is one here for each of you. So let's put it on and dance; because there's a party going on."

New deaconesses and home missioners

Logan Alley
Berwyn Heights, Maryland
Baltimore-Washington Conference
Employment specialist, FACETS, employment focused case management services to families in housing crisis.

Roberta Boyd Bragan
Enfield, Connecticut
New England Conference
Photojournalist focusing on stories about the human condition with an emphasis on highlighting injustices and the potential solutions to such injustices.

Brenda Brown
Spring Lake, North Carolina
North Carolina Conference
Public affairs and community relations specialist, Social Security Administration, working with seniors, people needing assistance and the homeless.

Deborah Lynn Byrd
Old Hickory, Tennessee
Tennessee Conference
Church coordinator, Andrew Price Memorial United Methodist Church, overseeing office food program, community garden and day ministry for those living without homes.

Melissa Iutzi Calvillo
Dallas City, Illinois
Great Rivers Conference
Maternal and child health registered nurse and program coordinator, Lee County Health Department.

Melanie Dewey
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Oklahoma Conference
Community engagement coordinator, Centenary United Methodist Church.

René Grant
Clarkesville, Georgia
North Georgia Conference
Administrative assistant, Ebenezer United Methodist Church.

Kim Devon Harris
Coon Rapids, Minnesota
Minnesota Conference
Assistant teacher, Kids & Co. Child Care Center.

Maria Rose McCall Dommerich Hase
Phoenix, Arizona
Desert Southwest Conference
Speech-language pathologist, Scottsdale School District.

Amanda Howe
Barnstable, Massachusetts
New England Conference
Resource development officer, Barnstable County Resource Development Office.

Choong-Hee Lee
Rye, New York
Greater New Jersey Conference
Director of family ministry, Korean Community Church.

Jamie Lynn Marie LeJeune
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Mississippi Conference
Missions and service coordinator, Court Street United Methodist Church.

Martha Louise Lundgren
Tucson, Arizona
Desert Southwest Conference
Client Support Manager, Sunquest Information Systems, and chairperson, health and wholeness ministries, St. Mark's United Methodist Church.

Alethea McGavaran
West Richland, Washington
Pacific Northwest Conference
Web ministry, Prosser United Methodist Church.

Halina Mui
North Arlington, New Jersey
Greater New Jersey Conference
Comptroller, United Methodist Women National Office.

Jane Ann Murray
Mount Juliet, Tennesee
Tennessee Conference
Executive of Gallatin C.A.R.E.S (Christian Association for the Relief of Economic Suffering).

John David Jessup Peterson
Atlanta, Georgia
North Georgia Conference
Department desktop consultant, Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

Ruth Pierre
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Florida Conference
Nursing assistant, Signature Health Care of Waterford.

Robin Ridenour
San Francisco, California
California Nevada Conference
Registered nurse anesthetist, Kaiser Permanente, and clinical coordinator for student nurse anesthetists.

Helen Ryde
Weaverville, North Carolina
Western North Carolina Conference
Southeastern Jurisdiction regional organizer for Reconciling Ministries Network.

Julie Ann Smith
Bastrop, Texas
Rio Texas Conference
Children's and outreach director at First United Methodist Church of Bastrop.

Laura Young
Lubbock, Texas
Texas Conference
South Central Jurisdiction regional organizer for Reconciling Ministries Network.

Linda Mae Young
Catawba, North Carolina
Western North Carolina Conference
Administrative assistant, St. Paul United Methodist Church.

Filipina deaconesses

Kaye Celyn Caigle
Tarlac Philippines Annual Conference, Baguio Episcopal Area

Sheena Camille Calma
Pampango Philippines Annual Conference, Manila Episcopal Area

April Grace Martinez
Northeast Philippines Annual Conference, Baguio Episcopal Area


Tara Barnes is editor of response magazine, the official magazine of United Methodist Women.

Posted or updated: 5/16/2016 11:00:00 PM

Photos from the 2016 consecration and past deaconess and home missioner events Deaconess and Home Missioner Ministry

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